Friday, July 22, 2011

Carbs... and I'm not talking nutrition!

A few weeks ago my beloved BMW bit the bullet. (OK, that sounds stupid, even if alliterative... the car is dead.) The last time I saw it was this:


Yeah, it was a pretty awesome car! Comfortable, near-perfect handling, reasonably peppy, and still returned 30 mpg highway! (It was a 2003 5-speed 525i with the sport package.) If you ever have a chance to own or at least drive one, please take it. (I'll admit, it wasn't a perfect car: the cupholders were quite lacking.)

So, in its stead, I decided that, as long as I'm working from home (really nice, by the way!), I'll just "fix up" my old 1967 Mustang and use it as my "around town" car. This Mustang was bought my my uncle brand new off the showroom floor in November, 1966. It has just over 100k miles on it. It's been living at my brother's house (thanks, Jayme!) while I was renting in South AL, and this past weekend I rented a U-Haul and trailer to bring it down (now that I have my own house). Here it is on the trailer:


(By the way: I was pretty impressed with my own trailer driving... I managed to back the trailer down my brother's long driveway, unassisted, without hitting anything! And I'd never really driven anything with a trailer before!)

Now, the old carb was basically disfunctional; accelerator pump was shot, vacuum issues, and just basically ran horribly, if at all (often wouldn't idle, and took forever to get started, and even longer to stay running). It was an Autolite 4300, which my uncle said he'd had problems with basically since the car was new. Looks like this:


My uncle, back when he'd given me the car, suggested that I put a Holley Street Avenger on it. Well, I should have. I should have done that LONG ago. I finally got around to putting a new carb on it yesterday (an Edelbrock 1406, not a Street Avenger, because the Edelbrock is what they had in stock at the semi-local O'reilly Auto Parts). Spent last night getting it (mostly) hooked up, but didn't crank it. Finally, this morning, I hooked up the last little bit and cranked it... and it started! Own its own! Without my having to pour gallons of fuel down the carb and crank and crank and crank... and it idled! High, very high... I hadn't hooked up the electric choke yet, and my first test drive: it was idling at 30 mph. But it was idling, and running.

Hooked up the electric choke, and it's running fairly well now (phenomenally well compared to the older carb: like a totally different car!). Without even spending any time "tuning" the carb. Really, it's amazing to me how much of a difference the carb has made... I may not even bother with going to an electronic ignition (like Pertronix Ignitor or Ignitor II). I'd expected it would run better, but this is much more than I'd expected.

Granted, the vacuum gauge (in the aftermarket gauge set under the dash) is showing no vacuum, but I think perhaps it's the gauge itself and not the vacuum (pulling the tube from the back, I can hear the vacuum, and I can feel it when I cover the tube with my thumb). The car still needs some brake work, tires (the ones on it have tread, but have mostly sat idle for the last ten years), and some body work (minimal rust areas and a leaking front windshield - at least, I think that's where the water in the driver's floorboard when it rains comes from) and a paint job (when it was restored in 1987 they painted it "the wrong color" - a very nice "Firethorn Red," but the car is supposed to be Dark Forest Green), but it's running fairly well now.

If you want to see more pics, check my Flickr gallery. And feel free to honk if you see me driving around Spanish Fort... but make it a melodic honk, so I'll know you're not just being a jerk. Maybe do a tune of "Superman" or something (OK, "beat of" the Superman theme song - I know you probably only have a single tone on your horn, not multiple ones!).

1 comment:

Tony M said...

Sorry, I always get the original color wrong: it's "Dark Moss Green" (not "Forrest").